‘Idol’ winner Clarkson is a Susan Boyle fan

‘Idol’ winner Clarkson is a Susan Boyle fan

HONG KONG — From one talent show contestant to another: well done.

Kelly Clarkson, the winner of the debut season of “American Idol” in 2002, says she’s a fan of surprise British singing star Susan Boyle, adding to a growing number of celebrity admirers that already include Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore.

Boyle, the 47-year-old church volunteer with a powerful voice, overcame a dowdy image to become an Internet sensation after her performance on the talent show “Britain’s Got Talent” was posted on YouTube.

“I think it’s awesome. I’m bawling whenever I hear her sing,” Clarkson told The Associated Press in Hong Kong, saying Boyle’s rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables” sounded beautiful.

Clarkson was in Hong Kong promoting her new album, “All I Ever Wanted.”

Obamas will preside over book festival

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will preside over the ninth National Book Festival, a daylong celebration of the joys of reading and literacy, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26, on the National Mall.

“The National Book Festival has become a true American institution,” said James Billington, the librarian of Congress. “It is a joyous and very popular celebration of books and reading in the Washington, D.C., area.”

The Library of Congress organizes and sponsors the event, which is free and open to the public.

An estimated 120,000 people have attended each of the past two festivals, a library spokeswoman said.

Former first lady Laura Bush, a retired teacher and public school librarian, started the festival in 2001, modeling it after events she held as first lady of Texas.

This year’s festival will feature about 70 award-winning authors, poets and illustrators in pavilions dedicated to specific genres of writing, ranging from history and biography to mysteries, thrillers, poetry and prose, and books for families and youngsters.

Since becoming first lady in January, Mrs. Obama has made several trips outside the White House to read to young children.

Gokey considers going from singing to dancing

MILWAUKEE — Danny Gokey isn’t going to let a few put-downs keep him from dancing.

The 29-year-old former church music director and “American Idol” finalist says he’d like to try “Dancing With The Stars,” in part because the “Idol” judges regularly criticized his moves.

Gokey was back in Milwaukee for a free event Tuesday night. He wanted to thank his hometown for its support and raise awareness and money for his charity — Sophia’s Heart Foundation.

He says his first priorities are the foundation and making his album, for which he’s already started writing songs. But he says he would consider doing reality TV if it gives the foundation more exposure.

The charity, named for his late wife, will provide music and arts programs for kids.

Today’s birthdays

Actress Carroll Baker is 78. Singer Gladys Knight is 65. Singer John Fogerty is 64. Actress Sondra Locke is 62. Singer Kylie Minogue is 41. Rapper Chubb Rock is 41. Actor Justin Kirk (“Weeds”) is 40. “The View” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck is 32. Actress Monica Keena (“Dawson’s Creek,”) is 30. Singer Colbie Caillat is 24.

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